EU Commission appoints Coordinators on combating antisemitism and anti-Muslim hatred
Today, First Vice-President Frans Timmermans and Justice Commissioner Věra Jourová appointed a coordinator on combating antisemitism and a coordinator on combating anti-Muslim hatred, as announced in the Commission's First Annual Colloquium on Fundamental Rights held in October.
The key task of the two coordinators will be to bring to the attention of the First Vice-President and the Commissioner the specific concerns of the respective communities. For this purpose, the coordinators will act as dedicated contact points for these communities while contributing to the development of the European Commission's overarching strategy to combat hate crime, hate speech, intolerance and discrimination They will contribute to other relevant policy areas such as education, as well as those geared at combating radicalisation and violent extremism. They will liaise with the Member States, the European Parliament, other institutions, relevant civil society organisations and academia with a view to strengthening policy responses designed to address antisemitism and anti-Muslim hatred.
The European Commission has appointed Ms Katharina von Schnurbein as Coordinator on combating antisemitism. A German national, she has been coordinating the Commission's dialogue with Churches, religions, philosophical and non-confessional organisations and was part of former Commission President José Manuel Barroso's advisory team. Before that she was the Commission's spokesperson for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal opportunities (2004-2010) and press officer at the Delegation of the European Commission to the Czech Republic (2002-2004).
The European Commission has appointed Mr David Friggieri as Coordinator on combating anti-Muslim hatred. A Maltese national, Mr Friggieri has, since 2012, been working within the Commission's Justice Directorate-General on anti-racism policies and fundamental rights and is the longest-standing member of the team working on the implementation of the EU's Framework Decision on racism and xenophobia. Previously, and since 2003, he held legal and policy officer posts within the Commission dealing with European citizenship and free movement and lectured European law at the University of Malta.
The Colloquium conclusions set out a number of key actions on preventing and combating antisemitic and anti-Muslim hatred. This includes building a culture of tolerance and respect at the local level in particular through education; addressing hate speech by working with IT companies, civil society and the media; ensuring implementation of hate crime laws and EU rules on victims' rights; improving the recording and data collection of hate crime incidents; promoting diversity and enforcing and strengthening non-discrimination rules.
While the appointment of these coordinators is the Commission's response to a reported increase in the two phenomena, the Commission intends to combat all forms of racism, hatred and intolerance with the same determination. The EU is equipped with legislation such as the Framework Decision on racism and xenophobia which prohibits racist hate crime and the public incitement to racist violence and hatred. It has also put in place a broad anti-discrimination policy, places fundamental rights at the centre of its work and provides financial support to projects aimed at fostering tolerant and inclusive societies.